• Saturday, June 25, 2022

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Event explores hidden heroes of Indian, Jewish communities

Dignitaries at ‘Hidden Heroes’, an event organised by the British Indian Jewish Association at the RAF Museum in London to commemorate the unsung Jewish and Indian heroes of the Royal Air Force. (Photo: BIJA)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

MORE than 150 people attended an event in London to commemorate unsung Jewish and Indian heroes of the Royal Air Force (RAF).

Organised by the British Indian Jewish Association (BIJA) at the RAF Museum in Colindale on Thursday (3), the event – ‘Hidden Heroes’ – explored the contribution of the Indian and Jewish communities to the RAF.

It also took note of diversity and the strength of working together.

Author and journalist Shrabani Basu explained how Indians beat the odds to serve the air force during the world wars.

“Despite the prevailing social prejudice, Indian pioneers joined the RAF in both world wars”, Basu said. She is the author of the book ‘Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant’, which has been adapted into a movie starring Dame Judi Dench.

RAF Museum ambassador Joshua Levine recalled the significance of Jews’ participation in the wars.

The author and historian noted the Jewish contribution to the second World War was “disproportionately large” for a small population.

Assistant Chief of Air Staff of the RAF, Air Vice-Marshal Simon Edwards, said, “The RAF is proud of everyone who serves or has served, but tonight it was the stories of so many Indian and Jewish men and women that brought a special sense of pride.

“Their remarkable contribution reminds us all of the power of diversity, and the strength we gain when we work together. Their voices, their example, and the lessons they have taught us, still echo today.”

BIJA co-chairs Zaki Cooper and Dr Peter Chadha said, “The history of the Indian and the Jewish contribution to the RAF and the military is a long and distinguished one.”

RAF Museum CEO, Maggie Appleton, Advinia Health Care CEO Sanjeev Kanoria who sponsored the event, also spoke on the occasion.

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